Out of Ideas

A close friend recently had a defibrillator successfully placed in his chest. I was surprised when he explained how the doctors had him under light sedation where he didn't feel pain, but could hear the doctors converse during the four-hour surgery.

A couple of  hours into the procedure, my friend heard the cardiologist say, "I'm out of ideas." He was unable to thread a wire into an unusually complex vein in his heart. The cardiologist asked his colleagues to remain with my friend while he stepped outside the room to relax and contemplate his next move.  

About 15 minutes later, the cardiologist returned to the operating room. He explained that he called another doctor who is an expert in cardiovascular procedures. After some back and forth, the expert provided a tip on how he might get the wire into the heart vein.

My friend listened to the entire conversation. The cardiologist remained calm and never raised his voice which helped keep my friend calm during the most stressful few hours of his life. With an assist from the cardiovascular expert, my friend's operation was a success and he's home recovering. 

Most of us don't have jobs where our skills and knowledge determine whether someone lives to see another day.  But all of us will be faced with a time where we don't have the answer to a problem. How we behave at this moment says a lot about our character and how the customer (patient) will remember the experience. 

With a hat-tip to the cardiologist, I'm going to follow his lead the next time I don't have the answer to a problem:

  1. Remain calm
  2. Admit I don't know
  3. Take a step back from the situation
  4. Go find the answer

Customers look to us to provide answers to their problems. They rely on us to keep them productive, and we often feel the pressure to provide them with an answer ASAP. But even a highly trained cardiologist didn't have all the answers. But he did possess the humility to ask someone who knew more than he did.

For that, I'm thankful and feel blessed to have my friend with us a while longer.